British pounds & ninja scrolls

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The UK-based NEO Magazine had leveled several enticing 'come hither' glances at me over the years, but the usually über cutesy anime girl covers and $8.99 price tag always scared me over to Newtype. Fortunately, on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, I manned up and battled back my fears. NEO, much to my satisfied surprise, is worth every pence penny. This cool mag cooks up a smoking hot smorgasbord of Asian cinema, manga, anime, news and music, complete with a FREE downloadable podcast -- courtesy of the Tokyo-based tour agency It Came From Japan. This issue (#104) had scads to offer my skeptical self, including features on the new anime, Tales of Vesperia (cover), and a history of Chinese swordplay films -- to bring readers up to speed on the genre for a quick look at Tsui Hark's super cool wuxia film, Flying Swords. Issue #104 also revisits the anime cult-classics Ninja Scroll and Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (both now available on Blue-ray), and offers interviews with comic book artist Stan Sakai and guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei (Kill Bill). This issue also provides a brief but informative bio on filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo I, II & III), and offers a slew of informative reviews of new music, manga, anime and games, as well as recipes, fan mail, and more cool crap than you can shake a samurai sword at. To get your very own copy of NEO, visit Barnes & Noble, or any preferred magazine stand. In the meantime, enjoy the teaser scans.

Page 20 & 21

"Hear the coolest new tunes and exclusive interviews every month on the FREE podcast from the Tokyo-based tour agency It Came From Japan! Episode #07 is out now on iTunes and www.itcamefromjapan.co.uk; subscribe now, and find more on Twitter and Facebook. The ICFJ podcast is presented by music journalist Daniel Robson, and proudly sponsored by NEO magazine an Manga Entertainment."

Page 26 & 27

Personal note: As I read the profile of filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto (Snake in June) on page 26, I thought: When I'm 52, I wanna be as cool as Shinya T. But then, when I saw the taste bud tempting recipe on the facing page, I amended that thought: When I'm 52, I wanna be as cool as Shinya T., and have a girlfriend half my age who is such a doll that she sneaks off to the kitchen to deep fry us up a batch of cheese and pork tonkatsu, and then comes to sit on my lap so that she can feed it to me... while dressed as the pink Power Ranger.

Don't... judge me.

Page 32 & 33

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"So there are these two guys, one's named Quentin Tarantino, the other Robert Rodriguez," smirks Hotei as he takes a sip from his coffee, allowing that double bombshell of a name drop to set in..."

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